Monday, May 30, 2011

What happens while "nothing is happening": Style Sheets

The publishing process is full of invisible steps. The creation of a style sheet, which provides consistency and accuracy in vocabulary across a book, is one of those invisible steps.

Here is an alphabet-bookish selection from the style sheet prepared by Julie Harman for Catch and Release. Julie is the production editor at Lerner, Carolrhoda Lab. (She was an important ally in the creation of The Freak Observer, too.)

Herman the Sturgeon.
I took this picture last time I saw him.
He has a Facebook page...
someone wants him to
o-fish-e-ate at her wedding.

Evel Knievel 
Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph
Herman the Sturgeon
Jefferson, Thomas
Lucky Charms
Moby Dick
Princess Peach
Smokey Bear 
...? (There is no U! It makes me want to yell "stop the presses" and put a sentence in there about the Unknown pok√©mon...and no V? I'm ashamed of myself.)
 White-Slave Traffic Act
 Yeats, W. B.

The real list is much longer. Here are the rest of the Sssssssss ...

Saltine (brand name)
Here is a rattlesnake shaped
like the letter S.
There is a rattlesnake
in Catch and Release.
seat belt
sloe gin fizz
Smokey Bear
Snow White
snowflake babies
"The Song of Wandering Aengus"
The Sopranos
South Park
Spokane, Washington
Statue of Liberty
St. Regis River (MT)

A huge amount of work went into preparing this style sheet. This is just one of the things that happens while "nothing is happening" author-wise during the publishing process. And it's just one of the reasons I am deeply grateful to the people who work together to make my stories into books.

P.S. I had to come back here and correct the spelling on Julie's name. It is Harman, not Harmon. (Maybe Herman the Sturgeon can help me remember this.) Did I notice the error on my own? No I did not. Editor Andrew Karre caught it. The amount of work an editor invests in a book, in an author... imagine.
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